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Silicon-carbide (SiC) Power Devices are Next Generation Low-Loss Semiconductors

Written by Stephen Vicinanza

ROHM Semiconductor has developed a wide-ranging portfolio of Silicon-carbide power devices, which the company says are the most viable candidate for next-generation, low-loss semiconductors. This is due mainly to the ON resistance and superior high; temperature, frequency, and voltage compared to silicon alone. Overall, SiC allows designers to use fewer components, further reducing complexity in designs.

The low ON resistance of SiC devices helps to substantially lower energy consumption, which allows designers more freedom to meet the needs of a friendlier environmental impact, by reducing CO2 emissions.

The ROHM 4th Generation SiC MOSFET helps drastically reduce system size and power consumption in a variety of applications. Some of these applications include electric vehicle traction inverters and switching power supplies.

As an example, 6 percent electricity consumption can be achieved over IGBT solutions. This is accomplished by significant improvements in efficiency in the high torque and low rotational speed range when the 4th generation SiC MOSFET is used in the traction inverters.

Calculations were done using the WLTC fuel economy test, the international standard.

SiC technology Applications

  • Tractions Inverters
  • Onboard chargers
  • PV Inverters
  • xEV Charging stations

ROHM confirmed the usefulness and benefits of the 4th generation SiC MOSFET through experimental testing using a step-down DC-DC converter while simulating running the test using an EV traction inverter, and also an experimental test using a Totem-pole PFC circuit.

SiC MOSFETs eliminate tail current during switching, resulting in faster operation, increased stabilization, and reduced switching loss. The Lower ON resistance and a compact overall chip size reduce capacitance and gate charge.

Additionally, SiC exhibits superior material properties, which include minimal ON-resistance increases. It also enables greater package miniaturization and power savings over Silicon (Si) devices. This can more than double with increased temperature from the ON resistance.

Specifically for the 4th Generation SiC MOSFET, achieves industry-leading low ON resistance and improves short-circuit ruggedness. The 4th gen. SiC has successfully reduced ON resistance by 40% when compared to conventional products with improving short circuit ruggedness. This was accomplished through device structure improvements based on the original double-trench design. This resulted in a robust switching device with the lowest ON resistance in the industry.

ROHM 4th Gen. SiC achieves 50% lower switching loss over conventional products and significantly reduces the gate-drain capacitance (Cgd). In contrast to the 18V Gate-Source voltage (Vgs) required in the 3rtd Gen and earlier SiC MOSFETs, the 4th Gen products support the more flexible gate voltage range (15-18V), which allows designing a gate drive circuit that can also be used for IGBTs.

There are a wide array of SiC MOSFETs to choose from at ROHM. To find out more and to read further on the 4th Generation SiC MOSFET see the product page here

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For the past 8 years, I have been writing about embedded technologies, added to my technical, academic, and medical editorial experience, with companies like Elsevier and Cambridge University Press. I tell people to read what I write, not try to pronounce my last name. I am always available for comments and suggestions you can reach me at product-editor@circuitcellar.com and I promise I will take the time to reach back out to you. I live in the North East with my wonderful family.

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Silicon-carbide (SiC) Power Devices are Next Generation Low-Loss …

by Stephen Vicinanza time to read: 2 min